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Holy Humiliation, Badman!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

caught by churchDoes the punishment fit the crime?  As a community member you can only sit back and hope that our criminal justice system is up to the task of holding people accountable for their actions and ensuring the safety of the community.  In fact, lately there have been multiple stories of judges getting creative in their punishments.  From parents making their children hold signs on the street corner for stealing to judges ordering defendants to hold a sign for driving on the sidewalk, humiliation seems to be the newest form of punishment.  In other words, judges seem to be taking a little page out of their literary schooling and placing a little bit the old “Scarlett Letter” on defendants.   But the big question is, does this approach work?  Will people be humiliated enough to not ever commit the same offense again, or will it further their distaste of the system and embolden future criminal behavior.  We aren’t sure of the success rate of these types of tactics but we have definitely seen more and more of these types of punishments.

Just recently in Sandy Hook, Kentucky a young man stole some sound equipment and instruments from a local church.  He was given the choice of going to jail and needing a bail bond, or going to church instead.  There was a stipulation on the church option though…he had to stand out in front for 6 weeks with a sign that said, “I stole from this church” (see pic above).  The stipulation was actually created by the church and agreed to by the court.  The man made his first appearance earlier this month and will continue to appear for the full six week period.  According to the article, the man was under the watchful eye of the sheriff, and based on the fact that he stole from a church, our guess is that he is probably also under the watchful eye of someone more important….just saying.  Read the original article below.

Origina article: Man Chooses Church Over Jail in Theft Plea Deal